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I Saved $135.00 With A 15-Minute Phone Call

Have you ever tried to negotiate one of your bills? Heating bills, garbage bills, ATTCellPhones bills, and cable TV bills: you might think that a bill is a bill and you owe the full amount but sometimes you can talk your way into a discount. 

Mrs. DayJobNuker and I have the $70.00 a month for 1000 minutes plan with T-Mobile. We have never gone over in minutes in several years so it was a total shock when we got our bill last month to find it was $235.00! Apparently we had gone over our allotted minutes by almost 500 and that resulted in the $165.00 being added to our bill.

Well, I was upset that 1) we went over that much and 2) that the phone company would stick us for so much. I mean, I know we signed a contract and all but thats a pretty hefty phone bill when you know the minutes don’t mean a thing to them.  

In the past we had briefly talked about switching companies and I thought this was a perfect time to call T-Mobile customer service up and see just how loyal they were. 

I got on the line with the customer service guy and explained the situation: this was a one time deal, we had never gone over before, and so on. I asked if there was anything he could do for me. He put me on hold and came back saying that they could knock $30.00 off the bill.  I told him that $30.00 was OK but I was hoping for more and I reminded him that we had been with them for a long time. He put me on hold again to go talk to his manager and this time he came back and said they could take 50% off the extra $165.00 which amounted to $82.50.

For some reason I didn’t want to take that offer either. I don’t know why but maybe because I smelled weakness. I am a poker player after all! I knew the next level up plan was $100.00 for 2000 minutes and if I had had that plan we would have not gone over. I then said that I was hoping to have them “pretend” I had that higher plan just for that month and that they would take off $135.00.

The guy on the phone would have none of that and said his hands were tied and the 50% off the charges was the best they could do.: final offer. I then told/asked him politely that there were many cell phone companies and I thought they would want my business. He countered with “we do want your business but you signed a contract so I don’t even understand why you are trying to get a discount”. I told him I did sign a contract and I would pay the charges but I was also seriously considering changing companies afterwards.  

“Let me transfer you to my manager” he immediately said. The manager then came on and was all nice and asked me exactly what I wanted. I told him that I wanted to pay $100.00 out of the $235.00 thus essentially “moving up” to the higher plan for just that one month. I told him that I wanted to stay with T-Mobile and that if he did that for me I would not change companies.

He didn’t agree to it right away but in the end he could see that I was determined and meant it. He did give in and I ended up paying only $100.00 out of the $235.00! The normal person probably would have gladly taken the $82.50 that the customer service guy offered but I was, as the manager said, determined. Not a bad payoff I must say for about 15 minutes of work!

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  • 1

    That is some crazy negotiating skills there. I’m not a very good negotiator.

    david on December 6th, 2007
  • 2

    I like your style. I negotiate ALL the time too. You’d be surprised. Sometimes if you just tell someone “No,” or “I will not pay more than X” they go along with it.

    Mr. Disgruntled on December 6th, 2007
  • 3

    That’s the way to stick those evil phone companies!

    Chester on December 7th, 2007
  • 4

    I learned a long time ago that there was a BIG secret that savvy buyers were not telling… You don’t have to pay full price. I learned the art of negotiation for purchases a LONG time ago (because my mother is one of the best on the planet), but really never put the “power” to my own use many years after becoming an adult responsible for my own affairs. I think that 1) many people just don’t realize that often times prices are negotiable (not just for car buying) and 2)many people are just not secure enough in their own “power” not to be embarrassed to ask for the better price. I now ask for the better price more as the rule than the exception. Sometimes I strike out, but more often than not, I get the better price. I LOVE the art of negotiation! Great post!

    Kimberly on December 8th, 2007
  • 5

    I wish I would have read this post back in the summer. I have T-Mobile too, and my daughter came to visit my house in Hawaii while I was in Iraq. Foolishly, we let her use a cell phone. Predictably, she ran up a $280 bill talking and texting with all her friends back home. It didn’t even occur to me to call and try to get the charges lowered. Oh well, lesson learned.

    Todd Morris on December 9th, 2007
  • 6

    Nice job! TMobile customer service seems to be much better than the others… I wonder if Verizon would have done the same thing, or if that would have taken 15 hours of negotiation. (Not to mention the time spent on hold…)

    Sucker on December 11th, 2007
  • 7

    Good going! That was some excellent negotiating there. I’d have to say though, that if you had me on the other end you wouldn’t have gotten as far. Yes, I’d want your business, but only to a point.

    Mike on December 18th, 2007
  • 8

    We’re becoming a nation of whores. The company knuckles under because you don’t have the character to honor your commitment. They’re gonna have to over charge to make up for chiseling customers.

    Miscreant on December 30th, 2007
  • 9

    They already overcharge..that’s the point.

    DayJobNuker on December 30th, 2007
  • 10

    The point I am making is that it may be overcharging before you agree to terms and conditions. After that, it is under paying.
    A person has a job and on payday their employer offers the employee a reduced portion of their salary in order to keep their job. What would you call that?

    Miscreant on December 31st, 2007